Household Uses for Salt

Salt certainly makes our food more flavorful, but it can also work to fix many of our unexpected items around the house. Here are some of our favorite household uses for salt.

When windows won’t open and salt clogs the shaker, the weather will favor the umbrella maker.

  • Rub salt on fruit stains while still wet, then put them in the wash.
  • For mildew spots, rub in salt and some buttermilk, and then let dry in the sun.
  • If you spill wine or fruit juice on your tablecloth, pour salt on the spot immediately to absorb the stain.
  • Apply a paste of salt and olive oil to ugly heat rings on your table. Let sit for about an hour and then wipe off with a soft cloth.
  • To improve your iron, sprinkle salt on a piece of paper and run the sticky iron over it a few times while the iron is hot.
  • To restore some of the color to faded fabric, soak it in a strong solution of salt and water.
  • Mix a tablespoon of salt into the water of a vase of cut flowers to keep them fresh longer.
  • A mixture of salt and vinegar will clean brass.
  • Salt on the fingers when cleaning meat or fish will prevent your hands from slipping.
  • To kill unwanted weeds growing in your driveway or between bricks and stones, pour boiling salt water over them.
  • For perspiration stains, add enough water to salt to make a paste, then rub into the cloth. Wait for an hour, and then launder as usual.
  • Cover spilled eggs with salt, then wipe clean with a paper towel.
  • To freshen smelly sneakers (or any canvas shoe) sprinkle their insides with salt. Wait 24 hours for the salt to absorb the odor, and then shake them out.
  • Pour salt directly onto a grease spill and come back to it later.
  • A new broom will last longer if you soak the bristles in hot salt water before using it for the first time.
  • Stainless steel can be cleaned by rubbing it with a gritty paste of two tablespoons of salt mixed with lemon juice. Rinse well and pat dry with a soft cloth.
  • Rub two to three tablespoons of salt onto the stains inside your glass vases, and then scrub clean with a damp bristle brush.
  • Gargle with warm salt water (1/4 teaspoon salt to one cup water) to relieve a sore throat.
  • Sprinkle salt on carpets to dry out muddy footprints before vacuuming.
  • When silk flowers get dusty, put them in a paper bag with several tablespoons of salt and shake gently for two minutes to clean them.
  • Refresh household sponges by soaking them in cold salt water for ten minutes.

Household Uses for Lemons

At the Almanac, we know that lemons can add plenty of flavor to some of our favorite recipes, but they also are very useful to have in the house. Here are some of our helpful home uses for lemons.

  • For a sore throat or bad breath, gargle with some lemon juice.
  • Clean discolored utensils with a cloth dipped in lemon juice. Rinse with warm water.
  • Toss used lemons into your garbage disposal to help keep it clean and smelling fresh.
  • Use one part lemon juice and two parts salt to scour chinaware to its original luster.
  • A few drops of lemon juice in outdoor house-paint will keep insects away while you are painting and until the paint dries.
  • Remove scratches on furniture by mixing equal parts of lemon juice and salad oil and rubbing it on the scratches with a soft cloth.
  • To make furniture polish, mix one part lemon juice and two parts olive oil.
  • To clean the surface of white marble or ivory (such as piano keys), rub with a half a lemon, or make a lemon juice and salt paste. Wipe with a clean, wet cloth.
  • To renew hardened paintbrushes, dip into boiling lemon juice. Lower the heat and leave the brush for 15 minutes, then wash it in soapy water.
  • To remove dried paint from glass, apply hot lemon juice with a soft cloth. Leave until nearly dry, and then wipe off.
  • Rub kitchen and bathroom faucets with lemon peel. Wash and dry with a soft cloth to shine and remove spots.
  • Fresh lemon juice in rinse water removes soap film from interiors of ovens and refrigerators.
  • Create your own air freshener: Slice some lemons, cover with water, and let simmer in a pot for about an hour. (This will also clean your aluminum pots!)
  • Fish or onion odor on your hands can be removed by rubbing them with fresh lemons.
  • To get odors out of wooden rolling pins, bowls, or cutting boards, rub with a piece of lemon. Don’t rinse: The wood will absorb the lemon juice.
  • Save lemon and orange rinds to deter squirrels and cats from digging in the garden. Store rinds in the freezer during the winter, and then bury them just under the surface of the garden periodically throughout the spring and summer.
  • After a shampoo, rinse your hair with lemon juice to make it shine. Mix the strained juice of a lemon in an eight-ounce glass of warm water.
  • Mix one tablespoon of lemon juice with two tablespoons of salt to make a rust-removing scrub.
  • Before you start to vacuum, put a few drops of lemon juice in the dust bag. It will make the house smell fresh.
  • Get grimy white cotton socks white again by boiling them in water with a slice of lemon.
  • Clean copper pots by cutting a lemon in half and rubbing the cut side with salt until the salt sticks. Rub the lemon onto the metal, rinse with hot water, and polish dry.
  • Suck on a lemon to settle an upset stomach.